BCFC: Sponsorships and Signs

What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you judge the buzz on some Blues Facebook groups recently. News and pictures that Birmingham City have removed the former sign outside Wast Hills proclaiming the “Trillion Trophy Training Ground” has been met with thoughts that the club is being sold. Unfortunately for them, it’s not the case.

Birmingham City FC

Back in 2018, Blues made an announcement that they had sold the naming rights to both the training ground and St Andrew’s to Trillion Trophy Asia, in what appeared to be a fudge to help the club get around P&S rules.

The deal saw St Andrew’s become the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium (not that many people use the full name in honesty), while Wast Hills became the Trillion Trophy Training Ground.

Although the sign might have been taken down, it’s clear that the names are still in use. In this report on bcfc.com from Thursday 11 March, there are clear references to both of the sponsored names for St Andrew’s and for the training ground.

However, the original deal was signed for three years. That means in a couple of months it will come to an end – and that barring a renewal agreement those names will change back to their original, non-sponsored monikers.

It makes sense to me for the agreement to not be renewed by TTA.

When TTA signed the deal in 2018, they were the largest shareholders in Birmingham Sports Holdings, the Hong Kong company which owns the club. While TTA literally is nothing more than a BVI investment vehicle to own shares, it kinda made sense for them to put their name to the ground.

Things have changed now.

Now, it’s Vong Pech who owns the largest stake in the club, and who also owns 25% of the ground via his BVI vehicle Oriental Rainbow Investments.

While TTA have a large stake in BSH, they’re no longer in a position where they can effectively sell the club to anyone else but Vong Pech.

As cringeworthy as it was that the stadium had the words “Trillion Trophy” in it bearing in mind there are barely any trophies at the club (especially as the League Cup now resides next to Ren Xuandong’s desk at the training ground), I hope to the almighty that the name doesn’t change to “St Andrew’s Oriental Rainbows Stadium”.

However, I do wonder if they will think about promoting their Cambodian investment – “St Andrews One Park” isn’t so bad, is it?

In fact, I’ll go one further. If the ban on gambling ads comes in and Blues can’t sell to companies like Boylesports, why not do what other clubs have done and cross promote Cambodia on the shirts?

Leicester has “Thailand Smiles With You” on the front of their shirts, while Arsenal has “Visit Rwanda” on their sleeves.

Maybe Blues could have “Holiday in Cambodia” on the front of their shirts next year – or maybe I’ve been listening to much of the Dead Kennedys.

Regardless, a new sponsorship deal should equal some money coming in. It might not be a multi billionaire new investor, but extra money for the team is surely a good thing?